Doing a PhD straight after an undergraduate degree brings both good and bad connotations about yourself. Particularly in Malaysia, jumping straight from a BSc to PhD is fairly unheard of, thus they automatically assume that you’re some intelligent overachieving prodigy. On the flip side, grad school has been famously caricatured as a way to put off getting a job – or joining the real world, so to speak.
When I first thought about doing a PhD, I wasn’t really sure about what it involved. Sure, I was friends with loads of PhD students, but I didn’t really jot down the details of what they *actually* do. I looked at the official University requirements and saw that throughout the three-year registration, I would be assessed through oral exams, a nine-month report, a mini-thesis and a final thesis. Shouldn’t be too bad, right?
Hahahahaha. *ROTFL* 😀
Now that I actually *am* on the other side, I couldn’t believe how naive I was.
No matter how much you prepare for it, there will always be something that catches you by surprise. From what I’ve learned, PhDs are mysterious beings. No matter how many books are published about how to get a PhD, it always manages to blindside the best of them and confound the clearheaded ones.
Of all the books I’ve read about getting a PhD, one unanimous thread among them is that PhDs are emotional journeys; they don’t just test your intelligence, but they test your EQ too. It’s like a rite of passage. The difference is, you get to shape how the passage unfolds. Yes, you’ll see the odd boulder or two, but you get to decide whether to make a detour around said boulder or to blow it up to smithereens.
I feel that doing a PhD is about knowing what you want, finding out how you’re gonna get it, then going on to getting it, and finally telling the world that you actually got it. Sure it looks simple, but try remembering that when you’re faced with deadlines, meetings, seminars and the temptations of procrastination 😛
I’ve only started my PhD journey three weeks ago, so I’m still learning the ropes. You know what I like the most about doing a PhD? It teaches me how to take control. You have no idea how empowering that makes me feel 🙂
My friends are happy that I’m back in Soton. To quote a very good friend of mine, “your return from the graduated brought joy to the entire studentkind, because you defeated graduation and showed that graduation is not the end!”
I guess he’s just happy that I’m joining his club of school non-leavers 😉